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Last week, Google sent tons of warnings to websites that have "critical mobile usability errors".
Although these were just warnings and they don't mean a penalty, it may be high time to refresh your knowledge of what makes for a mobile-friendly site and get a mobile plan before Google gets more serious about it (before it adds more weight to the mobile-friendliness ranking factor).
Over the recent years, it has become obvious that the multi-screen Web will be the future (that is, the average Internet surfer will use several devices to complete a goal).
No doubt, Google is deeply invested in motivating webmasters to make websites mobile friendly.
So, why wait? With all these signals coming straight from Google, it's best to get a mobile optimization strategy now — and stay ahead of the curve in the future!
Here are the 5 steps we recommend you to follow to make your website mobile friendly and beat your competitors at mobile SEO.
Read more to see the exact steps you need to follow to ensure your site is free of serious mobile issues and that you have a clear strategy to execute long-term.
Test your site using Google's Mobile-Friendly Test. There, you may get one of the following 2 results:
By default, smartphone browsers lay out a page as if you were viewing it on a desktop monitor. This way you end up with the scaled-down version of a page that's hard to read without zooming in. In order to get the browser to render your page at a more readable scale, you need to use the viewport meta element:
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
More information on this can be found here.
So, if your site fails to pass Google's mobile-friendly test, move on to the next step.
When you decide on a long-term mobile plan, there are several options you get.
|You content is consistent across all devices||Cost-effective||Easy to provide a custom experience for mobile users|
*Responsive web design
(recommended by Google)
The user's device is detected and one is presented with a custom page created specifically for that device.
A separate site for mobile users
Mobile users are redirected to another, mobile-specific URL. Tablet users are shown the desktop site.
A mobile app
A separate application is created for mobile users. This option is often used in combination with any of the above.The mobile app is a total usability winner: 89% of mobile media time is spent on apps, and 11% - on the mobile web.
Remember the "mobile-friendly website" label that appears in Google's mobile SERPs? For your website to be eligible for it, it has to meet the following criteria (as detected by Googlebot):
|Your site avoids software not common on mobile, like Flash||The majority of mobile browsers do not render content that uses Flash. Here's what you could use instead.|
|You use text that's readable without zooming||First, configure a viewport to make sure fonts are scaled as expected across various devices. Once you've done that, implement the additional recommendations regarding fonts on this page.|
|Your page sizes content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally||Create content that flows in the viewpoint so that your visitors don't have to scroll horizontally to see the entire content. You can do this by sizing content to viewpoint.|
|You place links far enough apart to aid tapping||Avoid cramming too many touch elements into one page segment or making them too small. Google recommends a minimum tap target size of roughly 7mm, or 48 CSS pixels on a site with a properly-set mobile viewport.|
For those using WordPress, Joomla, etc.
If you use an out-of-the-box CMS on your site (as opposed to hand-coding it from scratch), here are some mobile optimization recommendations for sites that run on WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Blogger, vBulletin, Tumblr, DataLife Engine, Magento, Prestashop, Bitrix and Google Sites.
Once you've chosen the solution that best suits your goals and budget, here are some common mobile optimization mistakes to avoid.
So, even if your site is mobile-friendly and meets Google criteria, does it mean it will automatically get top ranking in mobile search engine? Well, nope. You'd still need to optimize your mobile website/application to promote it in mobile search or in an app store.
Mobile SEO basics
In addition to covering the mobile web design basics mentioned above, pay attention to the purely SEO-pertaining optimization aspect.
ASO (app store optimization) basics
Because 63% of app downloads come through app store search, it's also a great idea to optimize for higher positions in either Google Play (Android) or Apple's iTunes (iOS) app store.